Director’s Column: Try A ‘Staycation’

Summer is here and I hope you will make a date to experience some of the wonderful things we have in Chautauqua County. We are very blessed to have so much to enjoy, but how many of us take advantage of the things our area has to offer? How many of us promote our area to our out-of-town friends, family, and business associates? People who come here to vacation from around the country compliment our beautiful surroundings and say it is a “best kept secret.” If we want Chautauqua County to be a number one vacation or living destination then promoting all of its assets is up to you and me.

So this summer, I suggest we try a “Staycation.” Wikipedia defines a staycation as a “period in which an individual stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night. They might make day trips to local tourist sites or engage in fun activities such as hiking, boating, picnics in local parks or visiting museums.” Some “staycationers” like to follow a set of rules, such as setting a start and ending date, planning activities ahead, and avoiding routing. The goal is to create the feel of a traditional vacation. One advantage of staycations is that they are far less costly because there is no lodging and minimal travel costs are involved. At the same time, any money that is spent supports our local economy and businesses. Stress is usually much less with a staycation than a vacation because you avoid packing, long drives or waits at airports.

One staycation idea is spending a day at one of our natural attractions. The lakes, county and state parks, trails, Panama Rocks, Arkwright falls, Chautauqua Gorge, Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson Institute are just some of the places perfect for walks, picnics, biking or just relaxing in the sun. If you want some intellectual stimulation and entertainment think about taking in a lecture, concert, or performance at Chautauqua Institution, Lily Dale Assembly, Fredonia Opera House, or the Robert H. Jackson Center. (No gate pass is required at Chautauqua Institution on Sundays). Learn about other cultures at ethnic festivals held in various locations throughout the county including Scandinavian, Italian and Greek festivals. Other annual summer events include the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival (Aug. 3-6), Gerry Rodeo (Aug. 2-5), Chautauqua County Fair (July 24-20), Strawberry Festival, Bemus Bay Pops and Music on the Dunkirk Pier, to name a few. Senior-specific events include the Office for the Aging Annual Picnic at Midway Park on Aug. 18 and the United Senior Council Dinner Social. There are numerous year round attractions including the Lucy-Desi Museum, Dunkirk Lighthouse, Fenton Museum, the wine and art trails (linking area wineries and local artists) and so many others.

So get out and enjoy all the wonderful bounty Chautauqua County has to offer by planning a “staycation” this year. And remember, you can help make our community grow and prosper by encouraging friends, family and out-of-town guests to join you. For more information on events and activities in our area visit the Chautauqua Visitors Bureau website at or pick up a free Chautauqua Vacation Guide at the visitors center rest area on I-86 or at many area stores and restaurants. Stay well and have a wonderful summer!